Alpe delivers for coach as Lady Vols win

Starkville Academy's Lillee Alpe
Staff Writer

Starkville Academy basketball coach Bruce Allsup asked and he received on Friday night.

Lillee Alpe was happy to oblige.

After scoring only three points in the first half, Allsup wanted more out of his freshman.

Alpe turned it on for the Lady Volunteers and finished with 19 points as they rallied to defeat the Heritage Academy Lady Patriots 65-35.

"She's developing and still plays like a freshman sometimes, but we're glad to have her on our team," Allsup said of Alpe.

It wasn't a coincidence that when Alpe started playing better so did Starkville Academy.

The Lady Vols used a 35-2 run from the middle of the second quarter until the end of the third quarter to turn a 23-9 deficit into a 44-27 lead. Alpe had 13 points in the third quarter during that span.

"We came together as a team to perform the best we could do," Alpe said.

Heritage was the aggressor early and stretched an 11-9 lead after the first quarter to 23-9 by using a 12-0 run at the beginning of the second quarter.

Mary Peyton Passons had a 3-point play with 2:59 remaining in the second quarter and that ignited a 22-0 stretch for the Lady Vols that lasted into the third quarter. A bucket by Milla Davis gave SA a 31-25 advantage with 6 minutes left in the third.

"Our girls decided they wanted to play," Allsup said. "I don't know if it's because we've got exams going on or what, but we really weren't there (Friday night). I was really proud that they rebounded and got their focus back to where it needed to be. I told them that we may be down 23-9, but we'll still win this game by 20 and we won by 30 so I have to give them a lot of credit."

Allsup said the Lady Vols did change defenses from a man-to-man to a 1-3-1 zone, which helped swing the momentum in their favor.

"We were in a man-to-man early and they were just driving by us because our effort wasn't there," Allsup said. "I think we did a good job with steals (out of the 1-3-1 zone) and igniting our transition out of that."
Starkville Academy had 24 steals and forced 32 turnovers in the game.

The Lady Vols shot 36 percent (26-of-72) from the field and after a hot start, Heritage Academy was held to only 20 percent (11-of-53).

Passons matched Alpe's point total with 19 also and Aubree Campbell also scored in double digits with 13 points. Davis led SA with eight rebounds.

The Lady Vols improved their overall record to 7-9 and evened their District 2-AAA mark at 1-1. They turn their attention to the East Webster Tournament after Christmas.